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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 February 2018

McDonnell says Labour would put services 'irreversibly' in workers' hands

Only mass mobilisation can prevent capitalist sabotage and guarantee workers' democracy

Jarrow demonstration: we are the 99% Take the wealth off the 1%, photo Paul Mattsson

Jarrow demonstration: we are the 99% Take the wealth off the 1%, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Ted Mooney, Liverpool Socialist Party

"The next Labour government will put democratically owned and managed public services irreversibly - irreversibly - into the hands of those workers and those who rely upon their work."

This was John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, addressing Labour's 'Alternative models of ownership' conference. We welcome John's remarks. This approach has been part of the programme of the Socialist Party - and its predecessor, Militant - from the start.

Quite correctly, John says "we will do this not only because it's right, not only because it's the most efficient way of running them, but also because the most important protection of our public services for the long term is for everyone to have and feel ownership of them.

"We aren't going to take back control of these industries in order to put them into the hands of a remote bureaucracy, but to put them into the hands of all of you - so that they can never again be taken away."

Cost

John suggests it could be done at zero cost - without preparing for a battle. This does resort to some of what the financiers call 'creative accounting'. He puts forward the idea that nationalisation would be cost neutral, because it would bring an asset into public ownership which would also have an income.

But the Richard Bransons and other profiteers will object. At the very least they will demand compensation for the loss of their assets. We say: no compensation to the fat cats - compensation only on the basis of proven need.

From day one, the heads of the civil service will be in the forefront of the objectors. Appeals will be made in the courts, and even if you win - which is unlikely given the capitalist class runs them - the process will take years.

And some of the first objectors will be found in the parliamentary Labour Party. Many Blairite MPs will vote with the Tories to thwart your plans. These people have to be challenged now, and democratically replaced by socialist fighters willing to support your programme.

This is not to argue that such a programme is not possible. It is.

However, it would require the closest collaboration with organised workers at shopfloor level. Plans should be made now for union reps to form democratic committees in their workplaces, industries and communities, in order to mobilise mass action, including strikes, to defend it.

The capitalist class will use the unelected structures of the state against any serious programme of reforms which threatens its profit system. Only a mass movement to replace the existing state bureaucracy with genuine democratic working class control and management can overcome this.

The Socialist Party says:

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 14 February 2018:


Socialist Party news and analysis

We can win the fight for the NHS

Stop press: victory - campaign saves NHS rehab ward

McDonnell says Labour would put services 'irreversibly' in workers' hands

Tamil youth march for justice

Rent doubles in a decade: cap rents, build council homes!

What we saw: Tory-Blairite EU love-in


Oxfam scandal

Oxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

How should TUSC approach the local elections and Brexit negotiations?


Socialist history

Czechoslovakia 1968: 'Prague Spring' challenges Stalinism


International socialist news and analysis

Cape Town drought

Brazil: Lula conviction confirmed

Big political strike against Finnish government's attack on unemployed

France: rallies in support of oppressed Kurdish people


Workplace news and analysis

UCU uni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

Sadiq Khan's bus drivers' London licence doesn't go far enough

Newham teachers strike again as anti-academy pressure mounts

Woolwich Crossrail walkouts to demand promised bonuses

Threat of action defeats pay cut at Surrey council


Socialist Party campaigns

Haringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

Staines fire services saved

Carlisle debate - socialism or social democracy?

Enjoyable and successful Cardiff Refugee Rights gig


Opinion

I'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!

In Windsor none of us want to see homeless people on the street


 

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